The BGN News Archive
September 23, 2013
Before we get in to telling you what we did this past weekend...we wanted to talk
about a rather wild storm that's brewing over the Live at The Rat CD....whew!!
folks something seems to have gone very wrong in the making of the CD jacket...we
got a note from Johnny Angel who is understandably quite upset....Here's
what he has to say:
As some of you may know, I volunteered to write the liner
notes for the reissue of "Live At The Rat'', the collection of first
wave Rat (Boston punk club) bands from 1976. A very fine set of discs remastered
lovingly by Dave Westner.
The disc came out maybe 6 weeks ago and the copy I got had
a broken CD in it and was tossed before I got a chance to look at the liners
I thought I had written. (LA-based publicist) Josh Mills complemented
the liners and so I thought I might take a look at them in the replacement disc
Good god almighty.
What appears on the CD jacket and what I sent out bear no
resemblance to each other at all. In fact, they don't even have anything in
common and couldn't even have been edited out of what I'd scribed. Which wouldn't
have been a big deal at all, except that my name is at the bottom of the notes,
I didn't write a word of what is attributed to me. I have no idea who wrote
"Johnny Angel's liners", but believe me, that is not me.
Baffled and mystified by this one. Sent the gent that put
the CD out a query, we'll see what he says. But this is astonishing.
Here's what Johnny DID write:
LIVE AT THE RAT--Looking back with love
"You should have been there" may be the most overused and trite cliche in the
universe of location description but when it comes to the Rat--528 Comm. Ave
to be exact in the heart of what was ground zero for Boston's night-life (don't
get me started on what exists there now), well, you did have to be there. A
grimy, gritty basement bunker whose carpeting stuck to your shoes like freshly
chewed Bazooka, whose smoky atmosphere was other worldly in its fetid blue haze
and whose house brew was only potable by the most hardy alkies in Greater new
England, it was home like the Cavern or CB's or the Fillmore was home. A lived
in safe haven for Boston's weirdo's, of which I am proud to say, I will always
Way back when Gerry Ford was still the boss in 1976, the intuitive owner of
this joint, Mr. Jim Harold decided to do what his Bowery buddy Hilly
Kristol did in New York and immortalize Boston's finest at the time. Unlike
Kristol whose best bands were already drawing label scrutiny, Jim's finest were
more than happy to get what they had on tape and quick. And so "Live At The
Rat" was born--this wild hodge-podge of styles and sounds accurately reflected
that tiny subculture in the room, because in reality, Boston 1976 was still
cover bands of the rock and disco ilk, Cali-Country smarm and the still thriving
blues revival bands that took up 95% of the club space. The Rat was an oasis
and this is what played there.
From the opening invocation by Oedipus (who would go on to become perhaps
the greatest radio programmer of his generation) into the Danny and the Juniors
parody/tribute sung by scene ringmaster Willie "Loco" Alexander, this
is a strangely mixed bag of goodies. From the smart rock and instrumental savvy
of the Infliktors and Marc Thor to the Buddah-bubblegum through
mega stacks of the Boize to the flamingly groovy power pop of the heart
on the sleeve Real Kids to the sonic blitz of the mighty DMZ,
plus the ferocious hard rock of Sass, Susan and Boston's answer
to Slade, Thundertrain and the Lou R-isms of Third Rail, this
one-time double disc was a snapshot in time. That of music in transition from
traditional into the new era, but with much respect to rock and roll roots,
long buried in the ground by the Bicentennial.
I love this record and these people as they made and shaped me as much as any
institution ever tried to. When I slap on Willie's demented Lord Buckley over
power chord "Pup Tune", my heart soars, just like it does for the snotty kiss
off of John Felice's "Who Needs You" and the slamming slap of DMZ's "Ball Me
Out"--hell, I covered that band's "Boy From Nowhere" myself in 1994 in LA and
when asked what that was, I replied with pride that it was a little something
Once again, it was home. A little corner of a world which doesn't much appreciate
misfits and oddballs and which is now part of history. But this music lives.
Throw it on, it ain't nostalgia. It's an anthem. Our anthems. Be proud, mofos.
Now to complicate things further...the liner notes that DO appear on CD are
taken from a review of the disc written by "The Count" Joe Viglione
for the website AllMusic.com...without anyone consulting him about it. What
the hell happened????? We did email the folks who put out the CD to get their
story but alas have not heard from them as yet......more to come on this we
are SURE....we hope it gets straightened out.
That's what we knew on Sunday...now Monday Peter Rinning who put out the Rat CD posted
on the Kickstarter page for the CD this.......
Hi everyone. We just found this out over the weekend. The liner notes that are attributed to
Johnny Angel were not written by him. They were written by Joe Viglione.
I am truly sorry about the mix up. (not going to spew on and on how that happened but it did
- unfortunetly). I would love it if everyone who did the kickstarter downloaded (or copy and paste)
Johnny's liner notes and put it in as an insert into the CD. This is what we are going to be
doing going forward. (we are also putting a sticker on the CD's over Johnny's name under Joe's
liner notes to give Joe proper credit and make sure the liner notes are not credited to Johnny)
Johnny spent a lot of time thinking about the liner noters and it would be greatly appreciated
to have these included with your CD's that you already have.
I already spoke to Joe this morning and will be speaking to Johnny this afternoon.
Joe would like to use these for a credit on the liner notes that appear: Text by Joe Viglione ©2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
OK...this past weekend we went to the Upstart Fest at the Middle East:
It's hard being a punk fan in the good weather. Despite the perfect day Saturday
we worked our way to the Middle East. The Upstart Fest advertised
its show as the "Biggest and Best Punk Rock Party" but it came up a bit short.
One problem being the partygoers were a bit sparse. The Middle East
had lots of empty floor space up till 10:30 at least. And it never got all that
full. Also some of the music was punk-ish but didn't quite fly the punk flag
all the way. The audience was different than we usually see as well...younger
and funniest of all they had an organized and almost considerate and certainly
not violent mosh pit thing happening- and one out of four people in it were
female. That is a different dynamic and that's a good thing.
We came in on New Red Square and they were playing hard, not solid
hardcore but they had some of the earmarks. They put their own spin on things
and that's alright. Song structures were more complicated than usual and the
lyrics as far as I could ascertain were well done. Fun enough. They had some
low key slamming going on.
American Pinup came on without much delay. They have a small woman
singer with a powerful voice that was refreshing to hear. She uses her voice
very melodically with some blues affectations. They definitely were trying to
get some catchy songs going but it didn't make it with me.....but close. And this
was a case of not punky enough in a gig that promoting itself that way. They
even apologetically explained that they thought of themselves as punk even though
they weren't totally so.
Not punk enough was not a problem for The
Svetlanas. Just before they came on Joanie Lindstrom came by
on a multi-bar swing. She heard that they were supposed to come from the USSR
but really come from Italy and she showed a web page on the iPhone giving their
address as Italy. On the Upstart
Fest page they have a whole crazy USSR backstory. They charge on stage and
unleash some hardcore as the female lead singer spews out some nasty sounding
Russian lyrics. She's barefoot and plants her legs wide apart ala early Henry
Rollins and she's got a funky eye that reminds me a little of Staffy from
the Marvels. She's got the delivery and the voice that rivals any man's.
At one point she was singing, "I want to -Russian word- you. I want to -Russian
word- you." What was she saying? Pretty funny stuff. She was at top volume the
entire set with no sign of letting up. All the time she was scowling and the
delivery even in Russian made you think she was just pissed every minute.
It seemed cartoonish and had to be a put on but it was good enough that you
kept wondering...real or not? This was a very entertaining set. It made the night
After that we just saw a little Turbo ACs who came out with an acoustic
guitar in the lineup and that seemed like a mistake and called it a night.
OK folks here's some good stuff coming up ....
Saturday September 28th Cal Cali brings us The
(YAY!!) along with the his new band The Gliders at
There's a special show on Tuesday October 1st at The Beachcomber
in Quincy with Richie Parson doing a special solo gig!! And talk about
a super group!! He's got not only Brother Cleve on guitar - but Carl
Biancucci on bass!! Also special guest that night are and Kepi Ghoulie
and all the way from Italy: Miss
Chain and The Broken Heels...Richie says he has loads of new material
they'll be performing!
11th Annual Ponderosa Stomp is this October 3, 5 and 5 at The
Rock n Bowl in New Orleans check out their
site for a list of performers etc....
Terry Brenner has put together a great
show up in Salem on Saturday Nov 23...The Smithereens (!!!) with Pop Gun and Gyro
Lula at the Old
Town Hall in Salem Tix are 35 buckaroos my friends...and its an early show
with doors at 6PM.
Friday October 11 there's what promises to be an excellent show at
The Midway with Hambone Skinny (Ex Coffin Lids etc) Midnight
Creeps (who are always fantastic!!) Classic Ruins (always great too!)
October 12th -WAS going to be Cal Cali's Rat Reunion - but he's
moving it because of Spit Reunion #2!!! On October 12th At Bill's Bar on
Landsowne St....DJs will include Tony V, Paul V and Steven Strick
and music so far will be by EPIC BOSTON BAND: ADVENTURE SET, KEN SCALES (PASTICHE),MARK POTHIER (MINISTRY),RARE APPEARANCE BY:DEBORA IYALL/ROMEO VOID..get
info timeline and buy tix at their website
Also on October 12th is The Boston Boozehounds Reunion Show at
the Middle East Up along with Reno Divorce and Loser's Circle
October 25th - Friday- Thalia Zedek 's band is at The Midway
And October goes out with a bang at O'Brien's!! Thursday Oct 31 they've
got The Sprained Ankles, Squallie and The Chaotix , The Radicals and
The Pity Whores
Then the next night Friday November 1st is Penis Flytrap, Kermit's
Finger and Padded Hell
November 8th is Baker boys night at Radio down with The Kurt
Baker Band and Tom Baker and The Snakes...
And really far in advance we're letting you know about John Surette's
punk opera Tomorrow The World will be performed live at the Middle
East, Saturday Dec 14.
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Past postings of this news page are in the BGN ARCHIVES